PICTURES: Bristol Balloon Fiesta endures wet and windy weekend weather

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:16 13 August 2019

Bristol International Balloon Fiestas mass ascent on Thursday.Picture: Paul Box

Bristol International Balloon Fiestas mass ascent on Thursday.Picture: Paul Box

Paul Box

The world's biggest ballooning show has welcomed an influx of positive messages after high winds and heavy rain battered Ashton Court at the weekend.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta hosts a popular Darth Vader hot air balloon.Picture: Paul BoxBristol International Balloon Fiesta hosts a popular Darth Vader hot air balloon.Picture: Paul Box

Former Countdown presenter Carol Vorderman and other well-wishers voiced their support for Bristol International Balloon Fiesta's efforts to push on over the four-day extravaganza.

The festival launched an early mass ascent on Thursday, but it was forced to close on Saturday due to poor weather conditions - the second-time in its 41-year history.

The fiesta's organisers reopened the event on Sunday, and families flocked to the estate in Long Ashton to enjoy browsing stalls, food outlets and exhibitions.

Chairman of the organising committee, Chris Allcock, said: "While this year's fiesta undoubtedly had its challenges, it also had it's highs.

Bristol International Balloon Fiestas opening-night firework display.Picture: Paul BoxBristol International Balloon Fiestas opening-night firework display.Picture: Paul Box

"We were able to open the site early on Thursday to make the most of the weather and put on a mass ascent, which included Darth Vader's first flight over Bristol.

"This was met with huge delight by the thousands who made it down to Ashton Court and through incredible media coverage around the world, which put the area on the map."

People could try out Aardman's model making workshops, present the weather with BBC Radio Bristol and create a Eat Natural' breakfast bar.

Visitors could also try the Emoji Company's Wheel Of Fortune, take part in interactive coaching sessions with Bristol Bears and Bristol City, while listening to singers perform at the Fiesta's bandstand.

Chris continues: "As weather conditions deteriorated, we did have to take the difficult decision to close the site on Saturday on the grounds of safety.

"Although incredibly disappointing for many, including ourselves, we can't thank the public enough for the swell of positive messages we've received in support of the fiesta. Unfortunately, we weren't able to host a mass ascent on Sunday, but we were pleased to reopen the site and welcome visitors.

"We would like to publicly thank the balloonists who stuck it out, despite challenging weather conditions, who tethered their balloons in the arena over the course of the afternoon to put on a great show."

Bristol International Balloon Fiestas naked nightglow show.Picture: Paul BoxBristol International Balloon Fiestas naked nightglow show.Picture: Paul Box

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta’s mass ascent on Thursday.Bristol International Balloon Fiesta’s mass ascent on Thursday.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta�s mass ascent on Thursday.Bristol International Balloon Fiesta�s mass ascent on Thursday.

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